Oct 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; General view of Detroit Lions helmet on the field prior to a game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
15. Shaun Rogers
Second round, No. 61 overall, 2001
If only he could have stayed healthy…The beefy defensive tackle made three Pro Bowls (two in Detroit) and at his 2005-05 peak was one of the most disruptive interior defenders in the league.
The Texas product is responsible for perhaps my favorite all-time Lions memory, an interception return for a touchdown against the Broncos that shows off the full package of what was Shaun Rogers:
Technically, Rogers was a traded pick. He was acquired on a draft-day trade for picks that became CB Will Peterson and DE Cedric Scott. The Lions parlayed what was left of Rogers into a pick that became prodigal Lion Andre Fluellen and (alas) overrated CB Leigh Bodden.
14. Jerry Ball
Third round, No. 63 overall, 1987
The round mound from SMU was for a brief time one of the best nose tackles in the league. He earned an All-Pro honor in 1991, the third and final year he made the Pro Bowl.
His career spike was mighty impressive, but those three years were not sustainable. Ball left Detroit after his sixth season and played several more largely nondescript years as a solid role player.
13. Ndamukong Suh
First round, No. 2 overall, 2010
Love him or hate him, there is no denying the defensive tackle from Nebraska made a big impact on the NFL and the Lions. After an up-and-down first couple of seasons, Suh emerged as one of the preeminent, disruptive defensive linemen.
Few players have ever had his blend of power and quickness. He parlayed that into 36 sacks in five years in Detroit, earning two All-Pro nods and four Pro Bowl berths. The Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 is notorious for his questionable “dirty” play and unapologetic attitude.
He’d likely be higher on this list if he had stayed in Detroit after 2014, but also because the players taken after him, notably Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams, have been very good. Not even Matt Millen could have screwed up this one…
Next: Numbers 12-10